Criminals use a technique called ‘social engineering’ to manipulate, charm or pressure you into doing something or giving away sensitive information, often over the phone. They might try to convince you to transfer funds, give them access to your computer, or use information they know about you to send spear-phishing emails or to conduct corporate espionage.

Never give out customer or corporate information, or perform transactions over the phone, unless you are able to verify the caller’s identity.

How to spot a social engineering call

  • You get an unexpected request for a payment, wire transfer or funds transfer.
  • The caller assures you that it’s important and urgent and tries to push you to comply with their request before you get a chance to think it through.
  • The caller becomes pushy or aggressive if you don’t give them the information they want.
  • The caller won’t give you their phone number.
  • The caller wants to remotely access your computer.
  • The caller’s story keeps changing.
  • The caller is unable, or refuses to, verify their identity.


You get a call from a person claiming to be from the tax office, saying you need to make an immediate payment or you may face legal action. What are the warning signs that it could be suspicious?

The caller is aggressive and threatening.

Correct. Criminals will often be aggressive or threatening to cause confusion. However, there is more than one right answer.

The request is out of the ordinary.

Correct. However, there is more than one right answer.

You've been asked to pay immediately over the phone.

Correct. However there is more than one right answer.

Any or all of the above.

Correct. These are all warning signs of a social engineering call.